Looking back at 2023

Earlier versions:

जिंदगी क्या है, किस्से कहानियाँ? quipped my friend over a fine beer. Some thoughts make me jealous. Almost asking me… “Why didn’t this appear in your head first?” In my unremarkable translation: what is life if not stories? Some we tell ourselves, some others tell about us.

In the spirit of किस्सागोई (storytelling), my lookback for 2023 are stories, the ones that got me to take big decisions.

WED Aug 2 Berlin trams have a range of comforting noises: wheels rythmically humming against the tracks, footsteps shuffling every few mins, silent head bobbing of tattooed teenagers with boxy headphones. Dogs also love this natural rythm. Wearing magnificient vests, they’re mostly staring at cars whizzing by or grabbing treats that magically appear in someone’s hand. This fine morning of August, a German Shepherd (I wonder why they don’t call them just shepherd here 🤔), decided it was running critically low on neck scratches and pointed her nose in my direction. I gladly obliged, as one must. She relaxed and proceeded to sleep on my toes after a few minutes.

I felt like picking her up and taking her home that instant. Since such behaviour is considered theft, damn these niceties… I conferred with my wife and we changed the goal post to getting a cat instead. The world works in mysterious ways. I am project managing this operation as I type this. Hopefully, we will adopt a cat in a couple of weeks 🤞 Folks at the pet adoption agency have done more background verification than any of my employers so far.

Update Jan 1, 2024: Gul says Hello! Gul

FRI Jun 30 The phone vigorously vibrating causes a tiny blip in my ECG. Dad was calling to confirm a good and bad news. His chronic knee pain had become worse in the last few weeks and the doctor gave him an early appointment for a replacement surgery for the Monday, in 3 days. I promptly flew over and helped him navigate the system as best as I could. Not that he and mom needed any organizational help 😊.

The day he was due to be discharged was probably the worst monsoon rain I’ve seen in life, as if giving us a hint. He has had multiple post-op issues since then and healthspan has become a research interest for me. The entire process had me re-evaluate a lot of professional decisions. Will share more on this in a few quarters, maybe even heading into 2025. I still need to gather a like-minded team of founders and a go-to-market strategy but professionally, I’m sure I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life.

SUN Sep 24 Tattoo

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, There is a field. I’ll meet you there.

Tattoo #2 on my calf is the start of a Hindi sci-fi novel I’ve begun writing. Will probably take me a couple of years with other projects taking over and my handicapped Hindi vocabulary. Plot summary: autistic earthling discovers a method to travel faster than light. Crash lands on distant planet where people can read each other’s thoughts. It’s a perfectly happy society which he proceeds to break by doing random acts of kindness 😊. Insert loads of dark humour per your taste till you read the thing. I’m really looking forward to publishing this.

Ceramic cup and woodworking Building things with my hands is a cathartic feeling. Something used to be mud, it’s now a coffee cup I use daily. Something was a fallen tree, it’s now my bedside table. 2023 is an year where I leaned into crafts in a big way and enjoyed a lot. Adi deserves a lot of credit for pushing my lazy ass to try new things.

Konigsee covered with snow WED Mar 8 Wandern is a German word which most English speakers translate without help. Letting the mind wander while crossing a trail few have before you and will be erased quickly by falling snow or water is a great way to find what you’re after. It is a metaphor within a metaphor for this blog.

On that note, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2024. See you on the other side.

In case you’re looking for content recommendations around the holidays, sharing my best of 2023.

  1. Podcasts: Since I listen to a lot of them, can’t restrict myself to one.
  1. Books: This was the year of going through the entire bibliography of Wodehouse, Orwell, Orson Scott Card and Fredrik Backman for me. In the spirit of picking something, Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) and Solaris (Stanislaw Lem) were both delightful. In non-fiction, Outlive (Peter Attia) is pretty special and the premise of my startup.

  2. Movies/Series: Pretty slow year for content watching. Kohrra on Netflix is the only series I can remember finishing after starting. Very nice acting and great background score.


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